Archive for the ‘ Thoughts ’ Category

The Deafening Silence: In The Closet Of Suicide

Tyler ClementiThe recent tragic death of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year-old Rutgers University Freshman whose sexual tryst was broadcast across the Internet leading to his subsequent suicidal jump off the George Washington Bridge, has gay activists and advocates screaming for a call to action.

This story is not that of one, but of many. Hazing mainly happens in school, especially in college, when many LGBT individuals are discovering their sexual orientation. In the case of Clementi, his unspoken sexuality was exposed twice across the Internet, which begs the question: would this have happened if he were straight?

As someone who has been personally persecuted by people of the likes of Dharun Ravi, I tend to think not. Straight people have sex on TV, in magazines and in movies everyday; gay sexuality is still not mainstream. Whether the actions of the college students were out of curiosity—or just a sophomoric prank or bigotry— remains to be answered.

In high schools and colleges across the nation, kids and young adults are forced into silence for fear of retaliation. Unless a person of authority personally intercepts malicious behavior unto another student, silence follows. It takes the death of someone to instill change in schools or a community, but these changes are often short-lived and wildly ineffective, since teachers and others are often too passive to defend the meek.

Now, another person is dead. A talented and gifted musician died because of torment inflicted over his sexual orientation. If being gay had to be personified from a state of being into an emotional context, it would be love. So, in essence these people were tortured, and in some cases killed, because they found the ability to love. This isn’t a legislative problem; it is one of society as a whole – Blind-eye syndrome.

How many more people need to die before something is done? The Matthew Shepard Law helps, but it doesn’t do enough as a preventative measure.

At my high school in Massachusetts, our Gay-Straight Alliance wrote and enacted an anti-harassment policy to reduce the level of violence and hate speech at the school. This policy was left practically unenforced until the death of Phoebe Prince, which lead to an anti-bullying state law enacted in her honor. This law was written in blood, just like the Shepard law.

Politicians, such as Tom Emmer, the current Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota — a candidate financially supported by major corporations such as Target, Best Buy and 3M — feels that our society does not need bullying laws. In fact, during one of his campaign speeches, he said that if he were elected governor, he would veto the Safe Schools for All bill, a bill that includes protection for students bullied because of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion and disability.

The Facts:

  • 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians report having experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence as a result of their sexual orientation during high school.
  • 42% of adolescent lesbians and 34% of adolescent gay males who have suffered physical attack also attempt suicide.
  • 20% of LGB youth report skipping school at least once a month because of feeling unsafe while there.
  • 19% of gay/lesbian youth report suffering physical attacks based on their sexual orientation.

[Source: Lambda.org]

If LGBT Americans had equal rights and were not treated as a minority, heterosexual kids would grow up thinking of them as their fellow humans. Not a subhuman class that should be persecuted, ridiculed, and tortured because they love someone of the same sex. This problem will persist, more people will die, and more laws will be written in their blood until we start changing on a societal level. Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world,” start practicing compassion and lets stop the deaths now!

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Life: Rebooted, the Zen of letting go

Ok, ok, I’ve been really bad with blogging as of late, err, as of always. Anyway, I went to Greece (Mykonos) for my birthday, a most unexpected and wonderful trip! But the purpose of writing this isn’t to talk about the trip. While I was there, I was forced to live on minimal internet and disconnect from the world. This caused a great deal of anxiety at first, but I really didn’t have a choice in the matter.

(C) Joshua Plant 2010

Six days were spend doing nothing. NOTHING! I went on several adventures driving around the island because I love memorizing roads and new places (odd, I know…), save for that, I sat at the pool or beach and meditated for six days. When I was in England later that week, it hit me that I had an overwhelmingly strong sense of mental peace and contentment.

Upon returning to the US, it was clear to me that I had to stop everything. I had to relinquish all the bullshit I put myself through and let go of 99% of my projects. However, as soon as I let go of them, I was overwhelmed with a plethora of new ones–the difference being, I am enjoying these and have clearly stated my work/life limits.

Work aside: Without searching, I have been finding all these new blogs on the topic of Zen Buddhism and minimalist living. Then, I happened upon this book: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life [http://bit.ly/c77GIr], it has been really interesting and helpful with clearing out the overabundance of bullshit in my life. Thankfully, when I moved to New York City several years ago, I threw everything I owned out and came with only the bare necessities.

I still own nothing, and have very little attachment to the few things I do own. So, I am at a crossroad as to what I do now… Do I leave New York? Do I stay? How do I move forward? I do not have any answers, but everyday I am trimming my emotional baggage and the attachment to things from my life.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

Today is a new day. Life: Rebooted

She’s not GaGa…

Being a lover of all things off-color and “out there,” I was captivated by Lady GaGa from the beginning. GaGa has brought occult musings into the mainstream, wielding abstract imagery and lyrics  as a subliminal social commentary. Now, after the most recent release of her music video ‘Telephone,’ she has blown my mind again!

My friends at the Vigilant Citizen have broken down the video and its symbolism [here].

This article was brought to my attention by a wonderful blogger: ACofMusings

Pi Day

(√-1) (2^3) ∑ (3.14)

Happy Pi Day!

More on pi: here

Social News: Chile’s Earthquake Shakes Up Social Media

On February 27, 2010, just outside of Chile’s second-largest city, Concepción, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the area. It wasn’t long thereafter, that social media was feeling the aftershocks.

First, it was Twitter: Because of twitter’s accessibility via text message, many locals were updating their twitter pages in an effort to tell others that they were okay and safe. Other users were using it to get in contact with locals to try and find loved ones. Twitter instantly became a back and forth of information about those affected.

Hashtags such as, “#terremotochile,” “#Chile,” “#ChileEarthquake” were being used to centralize tweets about the quake. Many users were retweeting missing persons tweets, in an effort to reach more people in the Concepción area.

@SherylBreuker, in particular, tweeted “Any info on Maria Alicia Moya, please update http://tinyurl.com/yfjtzed or contact @kencamp or @sherylbreuker ASAP #chile #quake.” It wasn’t long after, that Maria was found and @sherylbreuker tweeted “we just got word that Mariali is safe and ok thanks to an amazing new friend and the power of Twitter! OMG! Awesome!!!!” This is just one instance of how social media helped connect people.

Another is Google’s Person Finder app, which was used in Haiti in January after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Port-Au-Prince, was relaunched for the relief effort in Chile. The app gives up-to-the-minute information about nearly 63,400 records to those providing (or seeking) information about those affected by the earthquake. Although the information is not verified, it still provides a resource for families and friends to find missing loved ones faster than an agency could.

It works simply by providing the user with two buttons, “I’m looking for someone” and “I have information about someone.” The user selects which one and enters the information accordingly. It also provides a map pinpointing aftershocks.

(Credit: Google)

To some, social media is a stupid time-suck, but in times of crisis, it saves lives, helps connect loved ones and keeps people better informed at a faster rate than mainstream media outlets.

Text your support:

1. Text the word “CHILE” to 25383 to donate $10 on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity

2. Text the word “CHILE” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision

3. Text the word “CHILE” to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army

4. Text the word “CHILE” to 85944 to donate $10 on behalf of International Medical Corp.

How I Became A Farmer

I never thought it would happen to me. I never wanted it to either. But, one morning out of the blue, I put on my overalls, boots, and Carhartts and took to the fields.

I started small; after all, I was new to this whole thing. First I started planting the basics: wheat, soybeans and corn. As I remembered from my history classes, Native Americans would bury fish with the seeds of the corn. As the fish decomposed, it would act as a fertilizer for the newly germinating seeds. I wished to try this for myself, but I didn’t see it as an available option.

After spending what seemed like hours plowing and planting, my farm was ready to go! Three days later, I had crops! I was amazed. I knew I could do it. I knew I could be a great farmer: and, indeed, I was!

I harvest my crops and took them to market and sold them. I felt like I was in Union Square on a summer Saturday, it was fabulous!

After returning from the market, I went right back to work! Only this time, I had a little extra cash, so I plowed an extra row and planted more crops. This was so exciting, I really felt like I was making a difference.

While I waited for my crops to grow, I took a gander at my neighbors. You know, sizing up my competition. As a gesture of civility, I decided to rake their fallen leaves. I thought it was nice, and so started a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationship with my neighboring farms.

Then, disaster struck! No, not a drought – worse! The Internet froze! Facebook crashed, and all was lost! My farm was gone. My newly found career and passion: destroyed!

I thought, “how could this happen to me?” I have been helping people; I successfully planted and harvested several bushels of crops and now look… my life as a farmer has ended. I was devastated.

It was days before FarmVille was up and running again. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt lost, alone and without a purpose. This was simply unacceptable. So, I took to the forum and filed an official complaint!

It wasn’t long after becoming a farmer that I too started to moonlight as a vampire. At first, I thought it was going to conflict with my busy farming schedule, but it all worked out well.

All is well on the farm, that has since been converted to a vineyard and we hope to double our profit by the end of the month!

Thank you FarmVille for changing my life.

Drugs Not Hugs!

Psychotropic drug therapy is the first line of defense for many doctors. Feeling blue? Have a Prozac! Can’t sleep? Have an Ambien! It goes on and on. It’s cheaper than therapy, it works faster than ‘healing from your emotional wounds,’ and above all, it lasts longer than crack!

So, in that light, I rewrote the Lord’s Prayer to more appropriately fit our ideals and our views on what is holy and the true path to happiness.

Our Pfizer who giveth thee heaven, Prozac be thy name.

Thine pharmacy I come.

Crying will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily pill

and forget our troubles

as we forget those whom trouble us

and lead us not into depression

but deliver us from bad chinese food

For thine is my savior

and the power of 100mgs

for ever and ever

Ambien!

I hope that made y’all smile.

-Joshua